A look at key dates in Greece's financial crisis.

Oct. 4, 2009 _ George Papandreou's Socialists win landslide general election victory, ending five and a half years of conservative rule. He is sworn in as prime Minister two days later.

Oct. 18, 2009 _ Government reveals that the budget deficit is set to rise to at least 12 percent of the country's gross domestic product, double the previous government's estimate. The shortfall eventually reached 15.6 percent of GDP.

Dec. 8, 2009 _ Fitch Ratings downgrades Greece's credit rating from A- to BBB+. Bond grades from the three major agencies eventually reached junk status.

March 3, 2010 _ Greece announces a major austerity plan _ with many more to follow _ increasing VAT and tax on cigarettes and alcohol, and freezing pensions and curbing civil servants' pay.

April 23, 2010 _ Prime Minister, speaking on the tiny Aegean Sea island of Kastelorizo calls for the activation of the eurozone-IMF rescue package, as Greece is unable to cope with rising borrowing costs.

April 27, 2010 _ Standard & Poor's slashes Greece's long-term credit ratings by three notches from BBB minus to BB plus, or junk status and warns debt holders that they only have an average chance of between 30 to 50 percent of getting their money back in the event of a debt restructuring or default. Portugal's long-term credit ratings are also reduced by two notches, from A plus to A minus, as other peripheral eurozone markets come under pressure.

May 2, 2010 _ Eurozone finance ministers agree to rescue Greece with euro110 billion in loans over three years.

May 5, 2010 _ In a day of mass protests and rioting, three people are killed after being trapped in a burning bank.

May 10, 2010 _ European officials agree on $1 trillion rescue package to protect the euro currency union.

May 18, 2010 _ Greece receives euro14.5 billion in bailout loans, just in time to meet a crucial debt refinancing deadline.

Jun 14, 2010 _ Moody's slashes Greece's government bond ratings by four notches to Ba1 from A3, with a stable outlook for the next 12-18 months. It is the second of the three major agencies to accord Greek bonds junk status. Standard & Poor's did the same in late April.

July 8, 2010 _ Unions stage their sixth general strike of the year _ halting public transport and services, stopping ferry departures and closing schools, newspapers, courts and public hospitals.

July 13, 2010 _ Greece successfully raises euro1.25 billion ($1.62 billion) in its first debt auction since receiving international bailout loans. The sale of 26-week treasury bills is oversubscribed 3.64 times, at an interest yield of 4.65 percent.

August 5, 2010 _ The IMF and EU say Greece has made "remarkable" progress implementing an austerity program to tackle its debt crisis and is expected to receive the second installment of rescue loans, worth euro9 billion in September. They warn that the country still faces significant challenges.

August 12, 2010 _ Official data show that Greece's recession deepened in the second quarter and unemployment has skyrocketed. GDP in the second quarter of 2010 shrank 3.5 percent from a year earlier, while the jobless rate was 12 percent at end-May, up from 8.5 percent a year earlier.

Nov. 14, 2010 _ Greece's Socialists emerge the winners of local government election runoffs, despite a record low turnout and renewed pressure on the crisis-hit nation to impose a new round of drastic spending cuts.

Dec. 15, 2010 _ Rioters clash with police across central Athens, smashing cars and hurling gasoline bombs during a nationwide labor protest against austerity, in the seventh general strike of the year.

Jan 14, 2011 _ Fitch cuts Greek debt by one notch, from BBB- to BB+, or junk status.

Feb 21, 2011 _ Greece unveils legislation to reduce tax evasion as part of reforms agreed in return for the euro110bn bail-out by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

Apr 23 _ European Commission data shows the Greek budget deficit jumped to 13.6 per cent of gross domestic product in 2009. This is almost a full percentage point higher than the Greek government's projection of 12.7 per cent.

May 24 _ The Greek government announces that it would sell stakes in state-controlled companies and form a sovereign wealth fund, to stem criticism that it has dragged its feet on measures to raise revenue and cut spending.

May 25, 2011 _ Protesters against the government's policies occupy Athens' Syntagma square, facing the Parliament. An encampment is set up and daily demonstrations and "people's assemblies" take place. The protests fizzle out after authorities dismantle the encampment on July 30.

Jun 17, 2011 _ Facing increasing discontent within his own ruling socialists, prime minister George Papandreou replaces finance minister George Papaconstantinou with his main party rival, Evangelos Venizelos, hoping to pass a tough, euro28 billion austerity bill to stave a default.

Jun 29, 2011 _ Parliament passes the euro28 billion austerity bill in the face of two days of violent protests during which some 300 protesters and police are injured. The package contains severe spending cuts and tax increases. The European Union had set passage of the bill as a precondition for further aid.

July 3, 2011 _ European finance ministers agree to release a vital euro8.7 billion installment of aid money for Greece but postponed a decision on a second bailout. Without the money, plus euro3.3 billion which the IMF board authorized a few days later, Greece would have defaulted on its massive debts within days, becoming the first developed country in 60 years to do so.

July 21, 2011 _ Eurozone leaders grant Greece a massive new bailout and radically reshape the currency union's rescue fund, allowing it to act pre-emptively when crises build up. The eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund say they will provide Greece with euro109 billion on top of the euro110 billion granted in May 2010. Banks and other private investors are to contribute some euro37 billion to the rescue package until 2014.

July 25, 2011 _ Moody's cuts Greece's rating by three notches to Ca _ one above what it considers a default rating. The credit rating agency warns that it's almost inevitable that Greece will be considered to be in default of its debts, as the second bailout package implies "substantial" losses for private creditors.

Sept. 1, 2011 _ Disagreements over Greece's massive budget deficits and how to make up for the funding shortfalls lead international debt inspectors to suspend their review and leave Athens. Their departure will lead to a 3-month delay in the disbursement of the 6th installment from the original bailout package. Finance minister Venizelos warns an even deeper recession will hurt Greece's deficit-cutting efforts.

Oct 2 _ The finance ministry announces Greece will not meet the 2011 and 2012 deficit targets agreed with the international lenders. It estimates the 2011 deficit at 8.5 percent of GDP instead of the targeted 7.8 percent and the 2012 deficit at 6.8 percent instead of 6.5 percent. It blames the deviation to a deeper recession than forecast. Later, it will revise the 2011 deficit to 9.5 percent.

Oct 19 _ Greek lawmakers approve the country's latest austerity package, including new tax hikes, further pension and salary cuts, the suspension on reduced pay of 30,000 public servants and the suspension of collective labor contracts.

Passage of the bill was a precondition for more money from the euro110 billion bailout package.

The bill passes in the face of violent demonstrations in which over 100,000 Greeks take part.

Oct 27 _ European leaders reach a deal with Greek debtholders that would see private investors take a 50 per cent cut in the face value of their bonds, a deep haircut that officials believe will reduce Greek debt levels to 120 per cent of gross domestic product by the end of the decade.

The agreement, struck after nearly 11 hours of talks at a summit of eurozone leaders, includes a new euro130bn bail-out of Greece by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

Nov. 3

_ Greece is in turmoil and the world economy in limbo as a high-stakes game of political brinkmanship in Athens leads Prime Minister George Papandreou to abandon his explosive plan to put a European rescue deal to a referendum.

Capping a day of extreme political turbulence in Athens, Papandreou tells his socialist colleagues that there is no need for a referendum after the conservative opposition promises to support the terms of a euro130bn bail-out from the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Nov 4 _ Papandreou survives a crucial vote of confidence in parliament, but a group of senior socialists call for a government of national unity to be formed quickly under a new leader.

Nov 5 _ The leaders of Greece's two largest political parties decide to form a government of national unity to start implementing a euro130bn bail-out plan, then take the country to elections.

Nov 11 _ Lucas Papademos, a former central banker, is sworn in as Prime Minister of a government supported by the socialists and two conservative parties.

Nov 16, 2011 _ Papademos wins confidence vote in parliament. First meeting with International Institute of Finance Managing Director (IIF) Charles Dallara, who represents Greece's private creditors.

Jan 28, 2012 _ Greece and investors who own its bonds reach a tentative deal to significantly reduce the country's debt and pave the way for it to receive a much-needed euro130 billion bailout.